Reinvent. To Survive.
Are you ready to face the New World?
Its here. You can run. You can hide. You can be an ostrich and bury your head under the ground. But the fact is, that it’s here. It will eventually catch up with you. And you have to reinvent. To survive.
As per reports, the recovery from the slowdown that the world has faced over the last few years is under way, but it is bringing with it a completely new perspective on how to drive efficiency.
Across the globe, more and more jobs are losing out to technology. Companies are laying off people, to realign their business to newer technology and higher profits.
The future is not really looking bright.
Don’t believe me? Here’s proof.
20 years ago, creating advertising communication was largely a manual job.
Ad copy was written down on paper, typed out on a typewriter by a typist, creative layouts were sketched by art directors and then there were artists who actually created visuals by hand and finished them with a physical spray gun.
Enter the computer, and with it, design software. In one blow, the norms of the industry were changed forever.
Suddenly, all the super skilled artists were replaced by Photoshop and CorelDraw or Adobe Illustrator.
Copywriters were still needed, but the skill of having a good command over the language wasn’t, because you now had a software that corrected your spelling and grammar as you typed. So anyone with basic command over the language could become a copywriter. The old guard fell. And the newer (and less expensive) junior copywriters took over.
While advertising per se has only improved over time, and creative geniuses are still very much in the system, the technological advancement meant that a whole generation of skilled advertising professionals fell prey to the machines.
Over the last few decades we have seen this happen over and over, in industry after industry, time after time.
So how does one survive in this New World?
To understand how you can beat the curve, it is important to first understand the biggest challenges that a traditional thinking organization faces:
Safety in numbers, means building in redundancies so that in case one person cannot deliver, there is someone else who could. This bloats up the workforce of an organization, where many people are doing the work of one.
The more the organizational hierarchy, the slower the turnaround time. Slower turnaround time, means less competitiveness in the dog-eat-dog world.
Traditional thinking and execution builds comfort zones. Comfort zones build a false sense of security. A false sense of security leads to laziness. Laziness gives a company less ROI per resource, pushing up the manpower overhead and reducing cost efficiency of the organization.
Though most companies claim to employ multi-taskers, they really do not have a clear definition for multi-tasking. As a result employees sometimes end up doing work that they have no skill sets in. This affects an employee’s productivity and motivation. A ship flying at half-mast can only go so fast.
Why should I bother?
Your next question would be “I don’t own a business. So how does this affect me? Why should all this matter?”
The answer to this is “Yes. It Does” and “Yes. It should.”
In a situation of abundance, it is easy to build an organization in the traditional way. However in hard times, it is only the lean organization that will survive.
The moment when your industry or organization decides to automate parts of their function, where would you be? Praying that you aren’t the one to be sacked or happy that it doesn’t matter to you?
Survival comes from thinking smart. Seeing opportunities. And acting on them, before the rest of the world follows.
If you really want to beat the curve, it is time you first analyzed yourself.
If you were a product or brand, what would you stand for? What would be your USP? What would be your positioning? What is the one promise you would deliver on, every single time?
That is your starting point.
The opportunity you have (and it is not easy… you have to work hard at it) is to create a niche for yourself, as a professional who can provide a specific service to a client. A benefit that only you can provide. A specialization that only you can bring on board.
The world is slowly but surely moving into the “Network of Professionals” mode that engages with specialists on a project basis. Many organizations now realize that it is easier to work with contracted specialists, than to carry a whole team to fulfill the same objectives.
Using the analogy shared earlier, what you can bring on board individually is:
As you are personally involved in driving the work you do, you know what you can commit, you know what you can deliver and you can be sure that your client will get what they ask for. As there is no long chain of command for decision-making, you can adapt to a situation faster and your reaction time will always be lesser than a large organization.
When you’re self-employed, time is money. And a day has only 24 hours. You will stop wasting valuable time and will use it effectively, to deliver the maximum output with the least input of time.
You will always be cost effective and competitive, as you do not have the huge overhead that larger organizations need to carry.
When you know that the buck stops with you, you will start getting more thorough in your work. “Get it right the first time” is a motto you will live with, driving up your productivity. In fact you would be surprised at how much you are capable of doing and achieving.
So if you really want to survive in this ‘New Economy’, it is time to have the guts to make the stand and take charge of your own destiny.
Identify a skill inherent to you. Invest in honing it and growing into the position of being acknowledged as a specialist in that domain.
Then take the plunge. Go solo. Get on board with clients as an independent professional.
It will take a little time and a lot of hard work to build your network of clients. But once you’re under way, the rewards are infinite.
After a point, it wouldn’t matter if you have a job or not. There is always enough work, in all market conditions, for the competitively priced.
And better to try it today and get a head start, than to try and join the bandwagon after the whole world is doing it.
Because it is always the pioneer who takes the risk, but gains the most from a turning tide.